Wednesday 4 June 2014

The Land Beyond The Stars (The Name of the Hawk-Volume 2) by Murray Pura

The Name of The Hawk - Volume 2 - The Land Beyond The Stars

A clash of supernatural forces at sea. The ship of the Danes suddenly at a strange shore. Trees that are unrecognizable. Animals that neither Hawk nor the women of Skyrl nor the Danes have ever seen before. Men hunting them through forests and across great stretches of grassland. A new world that none of them believed existed, dangerous and beautiful at the same time. The quest takes Hawk and Skaytha closer to the answers they seek. But it also takes them farther from one another's hearts.

The Guru's Review: 

Pura progresses the story fast in this novella despite the reduced number of pages compared with the previous one (25 compared to 31 pages). 

Hawk is confronted with a landscape totally unfamiliar to himself and his troupe. Unknown land, strange trees, animals they have never experienced before  with a vicious nature, and an unwelcomed confrontation with the King and crew of the Danes who turn on him when they consider that Hawk and his God have resorted to sorcery and witchcraft and then turn against Hawk and seek to have them killed. 

Skaytha states it this way,
I started the day on a ship at sea, a ship that had to be rowed for days because there was no wind. Suddenly there was wind, there was a clash of angels, the ship touched shore in the twinkling of an eye, we ran for our lives through the forest, fought the Danes, walked another ten miles and climbed these great big trees....
After this, a major development in Hawk's quest is that he discovers special abilities or powers, that seem to be identified from the confrontation with Legion in Book 1, as Hawk says himself, 
There was a feeling, a lot of feelings, that's when I sensed I had powers inside me, holy powers, God powers. Yes, I  think one of them has to do with fighting...... if you want to know what the other powers might be, I can't tell you. I do know that this seraphim, and others like it, are watching over us. That knowledge is inside me. 
So this knowledge sets the stage for future plot developments in the remaining novellas. From here, I enjoyed the reappearance of Morah, our narrator of sorts, who outlines briefly what happens over the time they spend on this continent and these events develop Hawk's necessary survival, hunting and warrior skills against fellow natives, animals and natural disasters. 

Against this backdrop, does Hawk and Skaytha grow closer together as they are tested by these events. Any reader can see that happening and I guess we all expected it! 

I had no idea how long The Five (as Morah calls Hawk, Skaytha, Canach, Africa and Fia) had stayed on this continent until Hawk makes a comment about this and how he feels about Skaytha,
Two years and my hair is past my shoulders and Skaytha's down her back. Deerskin on her body, hawk feathers in her braid, claws in a perfect necklace about her throat, dabs of blue and vermillion on her cheeks, her skin the color of the earth, how beautiful she is. And I can do nothing about it, nothing. 
It is this that sparks of what I mentioned in my review of Legion, Book 1, that Hawk and Skaytha will have their resolve tested and it happens in this novel. Hawk refuses the amorous advances of Skaytha and they drift apart. I won't add spoilers, but Hawk is very distressed
And we are no closer to fulfilling our quest. I have actually lost ground. Skaytha is farther from my heart than she has ever been. 
This novella ends with Canach being very prophetic in what she believes will be the future based on the strained relationship. Again, as in Book 1, we are left dangling off the cliff until we met again in Book 3. 

I would have preferred this novella to be just a bit longer, but this is still a page turner, still whets the appetite for more and our curiosity still very much piqued. 

Strongly Recommended

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